Journal of International Development Studies
Online ISSN : 2434-5296
Print ISSN : 1342-3045
Non-formal Education for Sustainable Development
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2016 Volume 25 Issue 1-2 Pages 71-79


This article aims to confirm the possibilities of Non-formal Education (NFE) and the position of learning in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to reflect the subject of learning from recent pedagogy. The lifelong learning discourse in Japan tends to concentrate on learning after school graduation, although the SDG 4 emphasizes the importance of lifelong and life-wide learning which must cover from early childhood education, school education, and adult education in the formal, non-formal, and informal settings. As the SDGs influence education and its environment as a part of global governance over the border between so-called developed and developing countries, the NFE concept could show more possibilities than retrospective school education concept.

The dynamics in power relationships and practice of education and learning could be analyzed in the axes of formality/flexibility and authority, based on recent NFE research, beyond the traditional dichotomy of formal and non-formal provision of education. This is because the two meanings of NFE have been mixed in the field of educational development and international cooperation: One is the role of NFE is expected to improve efficiency of schooling and complement formal provision, and thus international organizations and donors focus on its cost-performance. The other is that alternative channels of learning could ensure human development with local contexts as critical pedagogy points out because the modern school education system function to filter and put certain individuals into lower social status.

The recent research in education shows that learning means a modification of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values after certain experiences. Lifelong learning occur anywhere and anytime in and out of school and can be hardly grasped by the SGD 4 indicators only. In other words, our learning always influence the achievement of all the SDGs because we can change our choices when learn and/or experience. The NFE concept can bridge the interests and partners of various SDG actors if we can focus more on learning.

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© 2016 The Japan Society for International Development
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